Technology is an ever-expanding universe of its own – yet, it takes some genius minds to use it in unconventional ways.
It’s true that the greatest minds of all time have worked hard to find uncommon solutions to common problems. The best minds can look at available technology and engineer ways to use it to solve those problems. Here are five ways that it’s happening right now.
1. Using Wi-Fi For Security
[pullquote]Over the years, keys have gotten smaller and locks have become more secure, but keys can be easily lost, stolen, or given to unauthorized people.[/pullquote] When security is compromised, the only way to restore security is to change the lock. This requires money and physical labor each time.
Wi-Fi powered locks eliminate the struggle of the traditional key system and is currently in use at Northwestern University in Chicago. By placing electronic locks on dorm rooms, the library, study rooms, and science labs, the school doesn’t need to issue keys or chase them down after a student leaves the class.
Roger Becks of Northwestern University explains, “We have the ability to shut off access once we know a card is missing. Within 10 minutes, a new card can be activated and the old card is shut off from the system.”
If a student drops out of a class and never returns their key card, it can simply be turned off.
2. Using RFID For Finding Lost Items
Everyone can relate to misplacing their keys or phone at some point in their life, and the frustration of searching can be overwhelming. An easy way to find lost items is with RFID technology.
While RFID has been used to track pets and commercial products for a long time, it’s becoming a popular method for tracking personal items.
Provided you don’t lose your smartphone, you can attach a small RFID chip to anything you own and use an app to find it. Here’s a breakdown of four companies offering this technology to the public.
3. Using RFID To Prevent Robbery
RFID-embedded poker chips foiled Anthony Carleo’s plans after he stole $1.5 in chips from a Bellagio casino in 2010. They say the house always wins, and that’s an understatement. Your casino chips aren’t just being tracked to prevent crime.
According to Aaron Saenz at Singularity Hub, they’re tracking your behavior. “They can log how much you spend, where you spend it, and use that information to keep you in the game longer with well-timed drinks and services catered to your activity.”
This is perhaps one of the most brilliant marketing strategies ever.
4. Using RFID For Collecting Data
Disney theme parks have replaced paper admission tickets with RFID powered electronic keys. These new keys eliminate the need to scan barcodes, but more importantly for the company, they track consumer behavior within the parks.
The data collected will give the parks all the information they need to get consumers to buy more, and hopefully, make their visit more enjoyable.
5. Using Solar Power In New Ways
Solar power, or photovoltaic technology, is an efficient way to generate electricity without being connected to “the grid.” Some genius minds have come up with new ways to put this power source to use. For example, in developing countries where electricity isn’t guaranteed, or where there is no electrical grid, solar-powered vaccine refrigerators have been constructed. This allows healthcare workers to provide medication to remote areas and has saved many lives.
[pullquote]Car surfaces have been turned into solar panels to generate electricity, and solar-powered LED Wi-Fi enabled streetlights are being installed in major cities.[/pullquote]
In San Diego, California, the installation of these streetlights is part of a project called Smart City San Diego – a collaboration to improve energy independence and encourage residents to adopt a more energy efficient lifestyle. The installation is expected to be complete by the end of fall 2018.
The streetlights are designed to direct drivers to available parking spots, assist first responders in emergency situations, track carbon emissions, and identify roads that need safety improvements.
To The Future!
Technology is only limited by our ability to find new ways to use it. The future holds unlimited possibilities and it’s up to us to create something new.
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